“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
King David was no stranger to death. As a warrior he had faced death many times. As a leader of warriors he had led men that did not return from battle. In II Samuel 22 we find a very interesting psalm that David wrote when he had been afraid of death. He says in verse 5, “When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” The next several verses in II Samuel 22 speak of his fear during the times when he was near death. It was at these times that he realized that God had been watching over him as a good Shepherd. In verse 7 we read, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.” Finally, David says of the Shepherd, “the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” (vs.19b-20) He was no doubt reflecting on these experiences and feelings when he wrote Psalm 23. There he makes the statement, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [God] art with me.”
This is hard for most of us in the 21st century to understand. Death is an evil, fearful thing. It is something that we draw back from. Mankind was originally created to live forever with God. When sin entered man’s experience, then entered death. (Romans 5:12) However, when Jesus suffered for sin, He satisfied he law’s demand. Jesus brought us life. (Romans 5:18) While physical death will remain until He comes to set up His kingdom. It cannot have the ultimate rule over us. His gift to us is eternal life. (Romans 6:23)
Donald Grey Barnhouse, a famous bible teacher from the 1950"s, lost his wife to cancer when she was in her thirties. On the way to the funeral his oldest daughter asked him, "If Jesus died for our sins why do we still die?" At that moment a large truck roared past them. Barnhouse turned to his daughter and asked, "Tell me, sweetheart, would you rather be run over by that truck or its shadow?" "By the shadow," she replied, "it can't hurt you." Barnhouse nodded and said, "Did you know that the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus in order that only its shadow might run over us? Your mother has not been overrun by death, but by the shadow of death. That is nothing to fear." "I am the resurrection and the life," Jesus told us, "He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:24) Christians hold fast to this promise. That's why everyone who call Christ their Savior, can say, "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:55-57) (Story borrowed from BibleStudyPlanet.com)
Death still frightens us but because of what Jesus did for us we need not to fear death. With David we can say of death:
I will fear no evil
I Corinthians 15:55 – 57
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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